Running a marathon isn’t just a physical feat, it’s a mental one. Runners have their own personal techniques to give them the strength they need to make it to the finish line. They listen to music, eat a lucky breakfast, or look for a friend along the course. But a creative few do something a bit more daring: they run all 26.2 miles in full costume.

Running in costume has become a marathon tradition. Though costumes can be cumbersome, the love they bring from the crowd on the sidelines can help carry a runner to the finish. If you’re a runner considering running in disguise, check out this list of tips from Runner’s World magazine.

Costumes have also become a highlight of the spectating experience. The Chicago Marathon goes right by Mercy Home for Boys & Girls at mile 16, and our cheer station is one of the best places to see the race. Over the years, we’ve seen some unforgettable costumes go by—everything from Big Bird to the Eiffel Tower. And a few of our own Mercy Home heroes have even donned capes, birthday crowns, and more.

Here are some of the best costumes that have gone by the Mercy Home Heroes cheer station!

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Running under an Eiffel Tower replica twice your size is très impressive.

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The Chicago Marathon is brought to you by the letter B, for Big Bird.

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Captain America’s marathon superpower was keeping himself cool in that costume!

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We love the creativity of homemade costumes, like this bunch of grapes.

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Group costumes are fun, too! We wonder what these runners were celebrating.

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As if running 26.2 isn’t challenging enough, this runner was juggling!

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This Minnie Mouse means business.

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Instead of dressing in character, maybe all you need is some colorful accessories.

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We loved seeing one of our Mercy Home Heroes in a cape!

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Another one of our Mercy Home Heroes had an awesome birthday crown!

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